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Required City Council Member Attendance Discussed

At the Oct. 11, 2012, Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission meeting, a topic of discussion was requiring city council members to attend meetings. No formal proposal was made, but at least two of the citizen members expressed interest in future discussions of a requirement. Watch for February or March 2013 Charter Revision Commission Agendas.

From observation and personal experience, I don’t think it is necessary to put into law any attendance requirements for council members. As a former elected official, I wanted to be at the meeting to listen, learn, participate and vote. Missing a meeting only happened due to illness, or the occasional vacation.

From observation, attendance at council meetings has not been a problem. There has always been a quorum. Have not heard any comments or complaints about anyone missing too many meetings. People in Sioux Falls, do pay attention to local government. If a council member is frequently gone, questions will be asked. If reasonable answers aren’t provided, one of two things will happen: A recall; or people will line up to run against the absent council member at the next election.

I am happy the Charter Revision Commission is in place, looking at issues that may need to be addressed in the “City Constitution.”  Making attendance at meetings a requirement, is not one of them.

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